Few advocates for gay marriage make a strong argument for expanding the defining of the institution. They talk about “rights” and “equality” without appreciating the meaning of marriage.
By saying, for example, that we only have a right to marriage when the state recognizes it, they imply that marriage is a creature of the state — and in the absence of that government-issued certificate has no existence whatsoever. And yet marriage existed long before any government ever recognized it. And exists today even in the absence of state recognition.
Some gay marriage advocates do get the meaning of the institution; that’s why I have referenced Jonathan Rauch repeatedly in my posts on the topic. But, now in her piece offering some tips on how Republicans can take back the majority, Megan McArdle recognizes that marriage is more than just a “right” (or a question of “equality”):
The GOP would also help itself with those people by embracing gay marriage. To be sure, this might cause them some problems with the evangelical base whose organizing support is crucial to Republican get-out-the-vote efforts. But the GOP could assuage that tension by promulgating a hard-core, Republican version of gay and straight marriage. That’s why they should pair it with making marriage mandatory, and eliminating no-fault divorce. The message should be that if everyone can get married, then there’s no really excuse not to be.
(Via Instapundit.) Now, I don’t like the idea of making marriage mandatory, but do like the notion of pairing gay marriage with eliminating no-fault divorce. It shows that she understands the institution to be more than just a contract between individuals.
Seven years ago, as Jane Galt, McArdle wrote A really, really, really long post about gay marriage that does not, in the end, support one side or the other. I read it back then; it’s well worth your time.
McArdle is one of the few people who has written intelligently about gay marriage. Would it that there were more like her!